Concern Over Growing Invasion of Privacy
Technical advances in the delicate art of snooping have put new pressure behind demands for legislation which will effectively ban, or place under proper safeguards, the use of mechanical devices for listening in on private conversations. A congressional investigation of wiretapping last spring directed attention to the weakness or lax enforcement of present control laws and to the resulting encouragement of indiscriminate eavesdropping by the police, private detectives, blackmailers, and extortionists.
The House Judiciary Committee is planning to draft new and comprehensive legislation to govern interception of communications. Sen. Alexander Wiley (R-Mich.), who headed a Senate subcommittee which studied the relationship between wiretapping and national security two years ago, also intends to introduce a bill that “once and for all will absolutely ban … private eavesdropping for unofficial purposes.”
Rep. Emanuel Celler (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee which conducted the 1955 inquiry, said on Mar. 23: “The sanctity of the home cannot be eroded. Lawless taps would eventually render confidential communications a nullity as between husband and wife, lawyer and client, doctor and patient, confessor and penitent.”